Pros and Cons of Living in Antwerp

Everything that you need to know before living in Antwerp

As exciting as moving to another country to make a living seems, it is just as scary too! And this nervousness, butterflies in the tummy feeling is totally justified – after all, you will be moving to an unknown land, with the intention of making it your home for a long period, if not permanently. 

Choosing the perfect destination to move into too, makes all the difference. And for all the right reasons, Antwerp is gaining popularity as the hot choice amongst expats. Of course, there are pros and cons of living in Antwerp. So, if you are an expat, digital nomad or a business traveler, you need to know about the place you have newly moved or planning to relocate into.

So, this post will be about everything you need to know about Antwerp – read to find out more:

Table of Contents

Pros of Living in Antwerp

Affordable Housing

As remote workers in Antwerp, housing is one aspect you need to look into on priority. Even though buying a house in this city is super easy, it may not really be feasible for you. Which is why you can easily consider renting a space here. Renting apartments or houses in Antwerp is just as easy and hassle-free too. In the city center this may be more expensive. However, Antwerp has some amazing green neighborhoods located around the center. Luckily, these neighborhoods are less expensive as well! You can easily find a perfect home, away from home. You can check our portfolio here

Antwerp has amazing neighborhoods and it might be difficult to choose where to live. That is why we have an overview of the 5 best neighborhoods in Antwerp. This might come in handy when choosing your new home!

If you have limited sources of income, you can also opt for social housing. Simply register, show your bank statement and work contract as proofs and you are eligible for social housing right away.

Proper Public Transport

Trams, trains, metros, buses – you name it and this city has it! The well-connected and widespread transport network allows you to effortlessly travel through the city. Thanks to these everyone has the opportunity to travel for work as well as leisure. If you are located in Antwerp, it is super easy to get around town as well as exploring other cities. The train connection between Antwerp and Brussels is really fast and good. In only 20 minutes you reach the capital of Belgium. Get ready for a day- or even a weekend trip with friends or family!

Freedom

Belgium in general is a very free country. You have all the freedom to almost everything – freedom of speech, to protest, to exercise your rights. So basically, Antwerp is a place where you can live without the botheration of excess rules and regulations. So, whether you are residents of Antwerp, expats in Antwerp or workers in Antwerp, the rules stay the same for all.

Outdoor living

Belgians and people from Antwerp especially, love hiking and the outdoors. As soon as there is 1 ray of sunshine, not only the terraces in the city are filled but the glasses of beer as well! Belgians are very proud of their beers, and rightly so. Visit some of the bars and you will connect pretty fast with others.

If you are looking for the best parks and hiking routes you want to check out our blog post about nature parks in Belgium. Belgium has loads!

Tolerance

This is quite an issue in most cities across the world, where religious tolerance just doesn’t seem to exist. But not in Antwerp – this is an utterly blissful place to not only reside in but to also exercise your faith freely, without any concerns. This widespread religious tolerance in the city is also the product of freedom of expression. Since there are lots of different religions living together in Antwerp, this city is really multi-cultural. Most of the time everything stays peaceful and everyone accepts one another.

Furthermore there are lots of “clubs” that you can become a member of. If you are Jewish, for example, you might want to check out Shomre Hadas. Antwerp Indians might be interesting for… Antwerp Indians. What’s in a name, right? For more adresses and information you should check out Clubs Associates and Expat Life

Job opportunities

This city has one of the busiest ports of Europe. Lots of big companies and multinationals are located here, which causes lots of job opportunities. You can read more about the port of Antwerp here. Not only port operators are located in this city. Lots of other amazing companies as well. Looking for something in marketing or PR? Be sure to find something in Antwerp. Some of the best agencies are located here.

Interested in which multinationals are located in this lovely city. Take a look at this post to find out more. 

Culture and entertainment

When it comes to relaxing or visiting some museums, Antwerp has lots of options and attractions. There are lots of museums, parks and even breweries. Antwerp offers some of the best beers in the world! If you are visiting Antwerp or living there as an expat make sure to check out De Koninck brewery in Berchem. This might be a perfect daytrip, visit the brewery, taste some typical Belgian beer and afterwards take a walk in the Stadspark.

If you like it a bit more sober, there are lots of museums to choose from! The MAS for example is an amazing museum with quite a view! Furthermore you can visit the Rubens Huis, Red Starline museum, Museum of photography,… you name it, Antwerp has it all!

The weather

The weather could be a pro and a con. In general Antwerp is a great place to live. But, prepare for some dark, cold and rainy winterdays. In the winter the sun sets at 4 pm and comes up at 9am. Make sure you are prepared for short days. The sun does not come out a lot, in winter. In summertime this is a whole other story. You have amazing summerdays and can ejoy them to the fullest in the parks, bars, festivals,…

On top of all this, the Financial Times has just put Antwerp in the top 10 fastest growing cities worldwide.

Cons of living in Antwerp

High taxes

The tax rates are super high in this city. (The highest in Europe) While it may burn a hole in your pocket spending money for taxes, the only relief is knowing you get just as many quality services too. The standard Belgian corporate income tax rate is currently at 33.99%. The average income tax is 42%. This might appear as an inconvenience but the Belgian government actually uses this money to fund some extraordinary social programs.

Language barrier

Antwerp is a city in Belgium, where the three official languages are French, Dutch and German. 55% of the natives speak Dutch, which makes it the most widely spoken language here. All three languages are not easy to learn. But here’s the bright side – Most Belgians are pretty well-versed with English. But the only time you may face an issue would be when travelling through remote locations in the city.

Infrastructure

Although public transport is very accessible in Belgium. They do not always arrive on time. Trains may have some frequent delays. Normally they do not take up more than 10 minutes, however, this is something to keep in mind when commuting every day.

Accommodations

If you’re looking to buy a place, this could be relatively expensive. The laws also differ per region. Make sure to research this beforehand. It might also be a good idea to let a real estate agent assist you throughout the process of buying a property. You will be paying more in the end but the profession is legally protected in Belgium. Only if you have been certified by the BIV (Belgian Institute of Real Estate Agents) you can practice real estate activities.

How to rent an apartment in Antwerp

The Globexs rental process is specifically designed to make life easy for people who move abroad. No hassle rentals, trust and confidence. 

Rotonde - Panorama expat apartment in Antwerp

Join the Antwerp expat community

The Facebook group “Expats living and working in Antwerp” is the meeting spots for newly arrived and established expats. 

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At Globexs we all agree that our job is making people feel welcome. Globexs is, in essence, a people-company: people working for people. Us working for expats. We are the little tap on your shoulder and the voice whispering in your ear that everything will be allright 👌.